Whether putting upcycled computers into the hands of Kenyan students, rescuing food waste by the ton, or training women for careers in the male-dominated construction industry, CNN Heroes are everyday people who are making the world a better place.
By sharing these compelling stories, the CNN Heroes campaign connects a global audience to this life-changing work. We provide easy ways for our viewers to donate to the unique causes they care about. During our annual live global broadcast, we offer ten amazing humanitarians the celebrity treatment they deserve. By the end of the night, one will walk away as the CNN Hero of the Year.
In 2022, our audience donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Heroes’ charities. That’s in addition to the Top 10 CNN Heroes receiving prize money awarded by CNN and matching funds from our sponsor Subaru, totaling $700,000.
Beyond fundraising, the CNN Heroes campaign helps our honorees take their work to the next level. Before bestowing the title of CNN Hero, our team conducts an unrivaled level of vetting that offers the Heroes and their nonprofits a credibility recognized around the world. The Heroes also receive nonprofit sustainability and leadership training provided this year through a collaboration with the Elevate Prize Foundation.
In addition to helping the Heroes and their causes, we engage our audience every step of the way. From nominations to fundraising to CNN Hero of the Year voting, our audience rallies behind their favorite causes and helps shape our campaign every year.
CNN Heroes is best known for our annual All-Star Tribute show, which Jim Gaffigan lovingly called “The Oscars for good people.” But CNN Heroes is a year-round campaign that engages our audience every step of the way. We shine a global spotlight on the CNN Heroes and their causes, while raising money through donations and prizing to fuel their work.
🌎 IT ALL BEGINS WITH OUR FANS
Every CNN Hero comes from a nomination by our audience. Fans from around the world flock to CNNHeroes.com to tell us about their family members, friends, people in their communities, or public figures who inspire them.
Our producers travel the world to capture these stories as high-quality documentary shorts. These videos are featured weekly across CNN broadcast, digital and social media.
A partnership with GoFundMe offers fans a safe and easy way to donate to the causes that inspire them.
🔥 A VOTE OF SUPPORT AMPLIFIED ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Fans vote for their favorite Heroes to be the next CNN Hero of the Year and receive an additional $100,000 to continue their life-changing work. Our partner Telescope enabled us to offer a multi-vote module allowing fans to cast ten votes per day, every day, and double their votes by sharing on social media.
Voting kicked off in early November with Anderson Cooper appearing live on CNN This Morning to announce the 2022 Top 10 CNN Heroes and their important causes:
Carie Broecker: When elderly dog owners struggle to care for their pets, her organization steps in.
Richard Casper: Haunted by battlefield experiences in Iraq, his art and music programs help vets share stories and work through pain.
Nelly Cheboi: Her nonprofit upcycles old computers to teach tech skills to kids in her native Kenya.
Nora El-Khouri Spencer: Training women for well-paying careers in construction.
Tyrique Glasgow: After five years in prison, he transformed his neighborhood’s drug center into a community safe haven.
Teresa Gray: She leads volunteer teams of medics into global hotspots.
Meymuna Hussein-Cattan: Providing critical support to recent immigrants while her restaurant features menus developed by refugee chefs.
Aidan Reilly: His nationwide network of young volunteers rescues excess produce from farms and distributes it to people in need.
Debra Vines: Providing families in underserved Chicago-area communities with autism-related services and education they need.
Bobby Wilson: Feeding and healing his community by teaching people how to plant, grow, and prepare their own food.
🤩 SELFLESSNESS OUTSHINES STARDOM
On December 11th, the year-long campaign culminated in our star-studded awards gala. Viewers experienced the Top 10 Heroes’ stories through newly produced videos along with segments featuring Young Wonders. We also honored the people behind some of the year’s most inspiring moments.
When Anderson and Kelly Ripa announced Nelly Cheboi as the CNN Hero of the Year, she called her mother to the stage to share a song they sang when she was a child growing up in Kenya. By the time Nelly finished her speech, there was barely a dry eye in the house.
In addition to the prizing, donations and media attention, several CNN Heroes shared updates on how this experience benefitted their nonprofits:
Nelly Cheboi: Her program expanded into more Kenyan schools, and she was honored by her country’s president. Nelly’s alma mater invited her to speak at their commencement and opened an endowment fund benefitting her nonprofit.
Tyrique Glasgow: Received nearly $1 million in state funding in the month after the Tribute Show.
Carie Broecker: Used donations and prize money to hire a dog behavior specialist who is now working with fosters and adopters. They also hired a new marketing firm which increased their visibility across social media platforms.
Richard Casper: Connected with an event planning trade group to help promote his art and music programs.
Debra Vines: Used her training to step up her leadership and strengthen her nonprofit. Debra connected with her CNN Heroes celebrity presenter Holly Robinson Peete who honored her at a gala for her own HollyRod foundation.